An aquarium in northeast China's Dalian has moved more than 20 baby penguins to a "kindergarten" where they will learn survival skills.
The baby birds will be in the class for two months, learning to eat on their own and practising swimming, said Han Han, a keeper at Sunasia Ocean World in Dalian, in northeast China's Liaoning Province.
The little penguins go to the kindergarten when they are one month old, Han said. "At this time, they need to eat about one kilogram of fish a day, but adults only eat 0.8 kilograms and, in captivity, can't meet the babies' demands," he explained.
When a baby penguin goes hungry, it is liable to slash at its parents with its beak. The adults are not too keen on this and would rather abandon them than be stabbed. "So we must teach them how to eat on their own," Han said.
The kindergarten also helps the youngsters get to know each other, before the important business of finding a mate later, he added.
In the first month of separation, young penguins are kept separate from their parents, and the little ones often refuse to eat, hide from their keepers, and honk. Next door the anxious parents pace back and forth, trying to find a gap so that they can feed their babies, a Xinhua report said. Some mothers even attempt to sneak out.
"In the second month, the babies will be moved further away from their parents and learn to swim, which is good for their muscles and bones," Han said.
After graduation, they return to the larger crowd.
Dalian Sunasia Ocean World is home to the largest penguin population in China, with more than 100 gentoo and king penguins.